Free tours in Denver are a great way to get an insider's look at the city. Some of the best ones take you through historic buildings such as the State Capitol building and the Governor's Mansion. You can also learn about how tea, beer, candy, and greeting cards are made.
If you love history, be sure to create a custom tour via Denver Story Trek that will allow you to visit landmarks on your own and hear in-depth descriptions about the area's historic sites. The city is filled with more than 350 works of public art, so art lovers will want to take a summer tour to hear more about select pieces.
Read on for more recommendations of free tours in Denver. You'll learn a lot without spending a dime!
There are many free tours in Denver, but perhaps the sweetest is the Hammond's Candy Tour. Here you'll see how the candymaker handcrafts and packages nostalgic sweets such as ribbon candy, lollipops, and candy canes. You'll get a free sample, plus there's a candy store where you can buy some to take back home.
Tours are held several times a day. Book ahead during the busy summer and holiday seasons or if you have a large group of people.
The jewel of Civic Center Park in downtown Denver is the gold-domed Colorado State Capitol building. Be sure to make time to visit this gorgeous structure built in 1901 as one of the free tours in Denver.
Its impressive dome is covered in gold leaf — an acknowledgement of Colorado's Gold Rush era. You can explore the building on your own, but if you want to see the inside of the dome, you have to take a guided tour. The capitol also features a grand staircase, murals, and Mr. Brown's Attic Museum.
The capitol is open on weekdays except major holidays.
The Coors Brewery, one of Colorado's top attractions, is the world's largest single-site brewery. On this tour, you'll get to see its mammoth production operation where popular beers such as Miller Lite and Coors Light are made.
The self-guided tours, which began in 1873, will teach you how traditional beers are malted, brewed, and packaged. You'll love the fresh beer room where you can sample some beers while literally chilling out on ice-cube benches. It is everything a beer lover could imagine on one of the most popular free tours in Denver.
If you are more into small batch brewed beer, then this is one of the free tours in Denver that you won't want to miss. In 1994, Great Divide Brewing Co. set up production near Coors Field in downtown. Get a look at the award-winning microbrewery's production operations in the brewhouse, then enjoy one of its 16 seasonal and regular beers on tap.
The company expanded when it opened a state-of-the-art facility in the River North (RiNo) district. Free tours are available here, too, and you'll get to see its packaging, canning, and storage processes. The taproom features limited-release, barrel-aged, and seasonal beers.
Tours are available everyday starting at noon.
The landmark Boettcher Mansion on Logan Hill serves as the Colorado Governor's Mansion. The second and third floors where the governor and first family live are off-limits, but visitors can tour the rest of this beautiful 1908 home. Distinguishing features of the governor's residence include a Roman Ionic colonnade.
The mansion is open for free tours in the summer and at Christmastime. You can check out the home at your own pace, or take a guided tour that lasts about 45 minutes.
Taking a free guided walking tour through downtown Denver is a great way to get an overview of the city and discover what attractions you may want to return to later. The fun and informative guides will tell you about the Mile High City's history, architecture, and landmark buildings.
This tour stops at many of the city's top attractions including the capitol building, Denver Art Museum, Larimer Square, Union Station, Denver Public Library, and U.S. Mint.
You'll cover about two miles of easy terrain (suitable for wheelchairs and strollers) in two hours. The tour begins at 10 a.m. at the Veteran's Memorial and concludes at Coors Field. Tours are daily May 1 through Oct. 1 and just on the weekends from Nov. 1 to April 30. No reservations are required.
If you're out and about in Denver, you can't help but notice its many public art displays. However, if you want an in-depth perspective, sign up for a free walking or biking tour in the summer.
You'll learn about small segments of the city's nearly 350 works of art that can be found on buildings, bridges, and streets. Stops may include venues such as Civic Center Park, the convention center, and the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.
Tours are limited to 15 people.
Colorado is known for its microbreweries, but it's also home to one of the country's most popular tea companies: Celestial Seasonings. Located in Boulder, the tea manufacturer lets visitors tour its production facility to see how it blends, packages, and ships its teas. The headquarters also has the Tea Shop, Mint Room, and Celestial Cafe.
Tours are everyday at the beginning of the hour and are 45 minutes long. Tea isn't in production on Saturdays and Sundays, so it's best to visit Monday through Friday if you want to see tea being made.
The National Center for Atmospheric Research offers visitors a chance to learn about atmospheric science research being conducted at its laboratory in Mesa. You'll enjoy educational exhibits about climate and weather, an outdoor weather trail, an art gallery, and a film titled, "Air, Planet, People."
Self-guided tours at the visitor center are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. You can also take a tablet tour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. The tablets feature audio and video information about the center's research.
One of the most unusual free tours in Denver is of the Leanin' Tree greeting card facility. This card company was founded in 1949 and makes more than 30 million cards a year at its Boulder plant.
On this 45-minute, half-mile walking tour, you'll see the huge printing presses, cutting equipment, and envelope-folding machines that are used to make greeting cards.
Also on grounds is the Museum and Sculpture Garden of Western Art, which is the private art collection of the Leanin' Tree founder. The collection honors the Old West with 250 paintings and 100 bronze sculptures.
Some of the most interesting free tours in Denver are organized by Denver Story Trek. This group produces several dozen interactive, self-guided tours that give the background on Denver's historic landmarks. Tours include topics such as Women of the West, Black American West Museum, Historic Downtown & Capitol Hill, and Mile High Art & Culture.
All you do is select which topic interests you, then bike, walk, or drive to the individual historical sites, and listen to the tour via your phone or downloaded audio files. It's a great way to learn about Denver history in depth, plus you can create custom tours and go at your own pace.